US Patent and Trademark Office

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US Patent and Trademark Office Reviews in Alexandria, VA

Updated October 22, 2014
Updated October 22, 2014
151 Reviews
3.7
151 Reviews
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Teresa Stanek Rea
18 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • it's good, great flexibility, work from home, freedom to sign own work (in 26 reviews)

  • flexible work schedule allows for family friendly atmosphere, working from home is great (in 19 reviews)


Cons
  • Has to meet production requirement (in 8 reviews)

  • Challenging production requirements (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

109 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Veteran Intern Patent Examiner

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    USPTO is one of the few Federal agencies I have seen that runs fairly smoothly. Everyone I have encountered there is professional, helpful and personable (in the way that Engineers and Scientist can be), and very relaxed atmosphere. They have a very generous flexible schedule where you can work just about whenever you want as long as you make 80hrs every bi-wk and your numbers are good; when I say work whenever, I mean whenever (4-10hr days no problem; every other Friday off same deal..ect). The Academy they send you through is through and they definitely teach you the way to conduct Patent business. The Veterans program is very robust and right now they are in a hiring spree. Other benefits include onsite gym, a Patent social club and other various forms of perking up the work-life balance. Once you hit GS-12 (which can theoretically take about 1.5-2 yrs) you can work anywhere CONUS and never have to come into the office again.

    Cons

    The work itself. You need to realize that there is absolutely NO engineering work involved. The work is monotonous but it is a steady gig. I would probably not recommend USPTO for those just coming from college as the technical skills picked up in school will be lost. I can understand why those from industry would come to the PTO as it offers a major change of pace to how corporations conduct business. Another Con would be that everyone, due to the nature of the job itself, tends to stay in their offices so there is not a whole lot of social interactions. One final Con is the way the production system is setup. What the work comes down to is the numbers...and that is what you will be graded on constantly. I understand why they do production numbers, but I feel its a double edge sword. The nature of the work is tough and there is a learning curve, so the pressure is to constantly get applications reviewed and adjudicated as fast as possible.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The management, at least whom I have encountered have been nothing but supportive and helpful. Make sure applicants know that there is no engineering work involved.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Excellent work/life balance

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    telework, non-competitive promotions, quarterly and annual bonuses based on production and docket management, flexible work schedule

    Cons

    not a good environment if you have ambition or are curious and want to work in different subject areas, work experience can be bad if you have a bad/incompetent supervisor

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Either truly open all detail and promotion opportunities up to hotelers' without bias in favor of those on campus or be honest that opportunities for variety will disappear when you become a hoteler. That's one of the main reasons people go home and stay home and never come back. I think this can easily be remedied though by explaining to HR that examiners can in fact read. Their very living depends on it. If they're applying to a detail or position where hoteling or telework is not permitted it's because they've accepted that, made the appropriate arrangements and still applied anyway.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Friendly, Helpful, Best Legal Experience So Far

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Trademark in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Trademark in Alexandria, VA

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    Friendly Atmosphere, Non-competitive legal atmosphere, Mentoring, Federal Government Employee, Telecommuting

    Cons

    There really weren't any cons

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    It's a Job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Primary Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Former Employee - Primary Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA

    I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    If you can't do anything else, this is the place for you. It's done indoors, so there is no need to worry about the weather.

    Cons

    If you can do anything else, this is not the place for you. You are really just reading and analyzing other peoples technical achievements and it requires almost no creativity to do the job.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The management is great- they do the best they can to make a difficult job easier.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Benefits good, management & policies questionable

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    The salary, ability to telework full-time, flexible schedule

    Cons

    Supervisors can have no technical knowledge & sign your work & lack communication & "soft skills". Further, as a junior, you report to a primary. As you continually get switched around, it becomes confusing & you get tired of accommodating other peoples' opinions (which they like to sell as "being flexible". It's a backwards system.

    Also it's not a social environment. It's essentially like working for yourself. There is no sense of teamwork or commraderie. The work itself is not bad. But please have an outside life before you come in.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    management quality highly variable

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Former Employee - Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA

    I worked at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Flexible work schedules and work from home options for both examiners and managers as of 2014, production based advancement for examiners, good pay, good benefits, offices instead of cubes.

    Cons

    Managers are hired mainly on achievement as an examiner, which has almost no bearing on how good a manager someone will be. Yes, things are production based, but your direct supervisor reviews all of your work until you are GS13 partial sig, giving them great power over your success or failure as an examiner.
    My advice, do whatever it takes to get to primary examiner as fast as possible, then except for quality review team spot checks no one reviews your work.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find better ways to identify management potential.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  8.  

    PEEP Internship Program (Biotechnology 1600)

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Examiner in Alexandria, VA

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    The PEEP Internship Program is an excellent opportunity to gain experience as a Patent Examiner and gain experience in patent law. Within the 1600 unit, we were able to meet with current Patent Examiners, SPEs, and former patent attorney in order to understand both ends of the spectrum.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, this internship is unpaid and to get the full benefit of the position you may not be able to work another job in order to earn income.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    None

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  9.  

    Rewarded for merit

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Primary Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Primary Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    The collegiality, pay, flexibility, respect for hard work and intelligence, and community of scientists and engineers is fantastic. I know of no other organization where scientific and engineering employees are at every level of management, and firmly in charge of the organization. Being in a union has benefits with respect to clearly understanding your job requirements. You have a very clear understanding of what is required of you, and what your rewards will be.

    Cons

    Mentally taxing work. Difficult to engage meaningfully with work where you are not a creative contributor, but a judge and legal examiner. There is a lack of tangibility in your work product.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Upper management is doing a great job adjusting incentives to focus the examining corps on mission objectives. The work-life balance is phenomenal. Unrivaled anywhere.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    ok

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Junior Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Junior Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    flexible hours and good bonus.

    Cons

    work load is intensive though it's doable

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Primary Patent Examiner

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Primary Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA
    Current Employee - Primary Patent Examiner in Alexandria, VA

    I have been working at US Patent and Trademark Office full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Good salary and flexible schedule.

    Cons

    Challenging production requirements. Very isolating.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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